By Ryan Decker
The WVU offense was held at bay for the first six innings, despite getting runners on, but momentum completely flipped in favor of the Mountaineers following the seventh-inning stretch.
Cole Austin’s base-clearing triple in the seventh inning gave West Virginia and its starting pitcher BJ Myers a late lead in the Mountaineers 5-3 victory over the Patriots.
Myers surrendered a solo home run to Michael Smith in the first inning.
He didn’t let the long ball knock him off his game, pitching very efficiently through the next 3.2 innings. Over that time, Myers needed just 44 pitches to silence the Patriot bats, striking out four batters following the home run.
In fact, following the home run, Myers recorded outs on 13 of the next 14 hitters after Smith, with only a walk interrupting the streak. A weak two-out single by Alejandro Aponte in the fifth inning was just the second hit surrendered by the Mountaineer starter.
West Virginia had chances to score early in the game, as well, getting a runner in scoring positing in four of the first five innings.
WVU’s offense finally broke through in the seventh.
Jimmy Galusky and Kyle Davis singled, and Darius Hill reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Jackson Cramer drew a four-pitch walk, bringing in the tying run.
Austin, the next batter, followed with a three-run triple to right field. Marcus Inman brought Austin around to score three pitches later on a double center, giving WVU a 5-1 lead.
The five-run bottom of the seventh gave Randy Mazey and company enough cushion to turn the game over to the bullpen.
Myers exited after seven innings on the mound, giving up just four hits and one run, while striking out seven.
His performance on the mound is especially impressive considering GMU scored 21 runs last time out, and eight runs in a loss earlier this year.
GMU tried to mount a comeback in the top of the ninth, as Tyler Nelin hit a two-run home run to left. It was too little too late, though, for the Patriots.
Davis and Galusky were the only Mountaineers with multi-hit performances. Davis was 3 for 5, Galusky 2 for 4, in the contest.
WVU returns to action tomorrow at 2 p.m. against the defending national champions, Coastal Carolina.